Reported Speech (indirect Speech) in English

Reported Speech in English however is a subject that I understand something about. This video for that reason should matter and of interest to you.

When to use Reported Speech?

  • We use reported speech to report what someone has said earlier.
  • We usually change the pronouns and tenses:
    • “I’m from India”, she said. (DS)
    • She said that she was from India. (IDS)
  • Say and tell are the most common reporting verbs for statements. Notice how they are used:
    • Say: (to someone) (that): She said to her friend that she would be late.
    • tell someone (that): He told her that he didn’t mind.
  • Say and tell can come before or after direct speech:
    They said, ‘We have a new car. We’re very happy with it.
  • However, they usually come before reported speech:
    They said that they had a new car. They told us that they were very happy with it.

Back Shifting of Tenses

After a past tense reporting verb like said, the tense of the verb also changes:
We change the tense of the verb only by one shift.

Back shifting of time/place words

  • Tomorrow = the following day.
  • Yesterday = the day before, or the previous day.
  • This = that.
  • These = those.
  • Today = that day.
  • Tonight = that night.
  • Last night = the night before, or the previous night.


  • (Direct Speech) Sara said: “I want to go shopping”.
    (Convert it into RS) Sara said that she wanted to go shopping.
  • (Direct Speech) Sami said to Sara: “I am playing video games”.
    (Convert it into RS) Sami told Sara that he was playing video games.
  • (Direct Speech) Sami said: “I graduated 2 years ago”.
    (Convert it into RS) Sami said that he graduated 2 years ago. Or he had graduated 2 years ago.
  • (Direct Speech) Sara said to Sami: “I have visited Paris”.
    (Convert it into RS) Sara told Sami that she had visited Paris.
  • (Direct Speech) Sara said: “I will sleep early”.
    (Convert it into RS) Sara said that she would sleep early.
  • (Direct Speech) My mother said to my brothers: “You have to clean up your room”.
    (Convert it into RS) His mother told his brothers that they had to clean up their room.

Reported Speech Question Form

  • Reported questions have the same changes in pronouns, time/place words and tenses as reported statements:
    • ‘Did you enjoy the film? I said to them. ->
    • I asked them if they had enjoyed the film.
  • A common reporting verb in questions is ask.
  • When we report a Yes/No question, we use (if) after the reporting verb:
  • Do you like jazz? -> He asked if I liked jazz.
  • In question form we replace (said that), with asked & we use conjunction if or weather.


  • (Direct Speech) Mahi said to me: “Do you like pizza?”
    (Convert it into RS) Mahi asked me if I liked pizza.
  • (Direct Speech) Tom said to Bill: “Have you finished your homework?”
    (Convert it into RS) Tom asked Bill whether he had finished his homework.
  • (Direct Speech) Sally said to me: “Are you going to sleep?”
    (Convert it into RS) Sally asked me if I was going to sleep.
  • (Direct Speech) Sami asked Maher: “Did you enjoy the movie?”
    (Convert it into RS) Sami asked Maher weather he enjoyed the movie.

Reported Speech WH Question Form

  • When we report a Wh-question, we use the wh-question word as a conjunction:
  • ‘Where did you stay?’ Megan asked him.
  • Megan asked him where he had stayed.
  • We do not use a question mark (?) in reported questions.


  • (Direct Speech) Ali asked: “what time is it?”
    (Convert it into RS) Ali asked what time it was.
  • (Direct Speech) Hasan said to Sara: “How can I make some coffee?”
    (Convert it into RS) Hasan asked Sara how she could make some coffee.
  • (Direct Speech) The teacher asked the students: “Which answer is correct?”
    (Convert it into RS) The teacher asked the students which answer was correct.
  • (Direct Speech) My father said to me: “What are you doing now?”
    (Convert it into RS) My father asked me what I was doing yesterday.

Reported Speech exercise & practice

  • My wife said: I will teach my daughters the Arabic language.
    My wife said that she would teach our daughters the Arabic language.
  • One of my daughters said: “My teacher shouted at me this morning”.
    One of my daughters said that his teacher had shouted at her that morning.
  • My daughters said to their mother: “We will not go to school tomorrow”.
    My daughters told their mother that they would not go to school the following day.
  • My sister asked, “When will you visit me?”
    My sister asked when I would visit her.
  • My wife wanted to know: “What time will you arrive home?”
    My wife asked me what time I would come home.
  • My mother asked my father: “How can we call our children?”
    My mother asked my father how they could call their children.
  • My wife said: “Did you have breakfast this morning?”
    My wife asked if I had breakfast that morning.
  • My daughter said to my wife: “do we have bananas to eat?”
    My daughter asked her mother If we had bananas to eat.
  • Our teacher said to us: “Are you doing your homework well?”
    Our teacher asked weather we were doing our homework well.
  • “I’m enjoying my new job.” James said.
    James said that he was enjoying his new job.
  • My father isn’t well.
    Julia said that her father wasn’t well.
  • “We’re going to buy a house.” Sarah and Maria said.
    Sarah and Maria said that they were going to buy a house.
  • “I have to leave early.” Peter said.
    Peter said that he had to leave early
  • “My sister has gone to Australia.” He said.
    Tom said that his sister had gone to Australia.
  • Kate said, “I can’t find a job.”
    Kate said that she couldn’t find a job.
  • Steve said, “I’ll phone you.”
    Steve said that he would phone me.
  • Rachel said, “I don’t like my job.”
    Rachel said that she didn’t like her job.
  • She said, “My son doesn’t like school.”
    She said that her son didn’t like school.
  • Michel said, “You look tired.”
    Michel said that I looked tired.
  • he said, “I’ve lost my watch.”
    He said that he had lost his watch.
  • She said, “I’m very busy.”
    She said that she was very busy.
  • She said, “I can’t go to the party.”
    She said that she couldn’t go to the party.
  • He said, “I have to go out.”
    He said that he had to go out.
  • He said, “I’m learning Indian.”
    He said that he was learning Indian.
  • She said, “I don’t feel very well.”
    She said that she didn’t feel very well.
  • They said. “We’ll be home late.”
    They said that they would be home late.
  • She said. “I’ve just come back from holiday.”
    She said that she had just come back from holiday.
  • She said, “I’m going to buy a guitar.”
    She said that she was going to buy a guitar.
  • They said, “We haven’t got a key.”
    They said that they hadn’t got a key.
  • They said, “We’re worried about Peter.”
    They said that they were worried about Peter.
  • Tom said. “I work in an office.”
    Tom said that he worked in an office.
  • The weatherman said, “It is going to rain.”
    The weatherman said that it was going to rain.
  • The motorists said, “We’re driving to a football match.”
    The motorists said that they were driving to a football match.
  • “I’ve won the lottery!” the old lady said.
    The old lady said/exclaimed that she had won the lottery.
  • Louise said, “My friends don’t like visiting museums.”
    Louise said that her friends didn’t like visiting museums.
  • People will have holidays in space in the future.
    The young boy said that people would have holidays in space in the future.
  • I broke my leg playing football.
    James said that he had broken his leg playing football.
  • We haven’t flown before.
    They said that they hadn’t flown before.